Nigel Havers and Beyonce meet money bags Madrid. And happy birthday boss!

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Queue misery...

Queue misery...

So 60 years old today, many happy returns Arsene, you have brought a brand of football to the Arsenal that is exciting and fun to watch, and after watching the two biggest names in football last night, I really think we can win the European Champions League this season, I really do.

Leonardo isn’t Leonardo, he’s Nigel Havers, and Milan we all know are Beyonce, so when they lined up against money bags Madrid you expected fireworks, well, we got massive goalkeeping errors from both sides, errors that made Almunia look like Gordon Banks, but Pato aside, I didn’t see much they spent massively on that made me feel particularly envious.

I did however wonder what would have been when I watched Diarra, who only cost us £2 million, he really would have been our Makelele, I also got a little twitchy watching Alonso and Nesta, it was only then I thought what could have been.

Still onto the reason behind today’s picture. That picture was taken by me, on my Sony Ericsson W350i, yes a W350i! I took it after the Brummie game, the funny thing was, I took it an hour after the game finished, 2 pints after in fact, then I had to stand in this queue for another half an hour, so Arsenal, this is why people leave the ground early.

Now if I ever saw Gazidas or Hill-Wood in the queue, I could understand why they keep telling us what rascals we all are leaving, but they are in the ground quaffing Champagne before stepping into their chauffeur driven Limo’s, so whilst I am not condoning them leaving early, and I did abuse my cousins in the North Bank for bunking off, I do understand why fans leave early.

Maybe Arsenal should pay towards getting escalators put into Holloway road to relieve congestion, as they said they would when they got planning permission in the first place. Or maybe Arsenal should have some respect for the fan that pays their wages, and think of a way around our queueing hell, instead of telling us how we pull the team down.

Today sees the AGM, Pedro is going in my place so will no doubt report on that tomorrow, however Hill-Wood has said this in the Daily Star. ‘Arsene is going to say a few words and woe betide any shareholder who stands up and tries to criticise him’

Tough words coming from a bloated public schoolboy, but isn’t that what AGM’s are for? To question, What sort of world would we live in if no one dared to ask or question decisions. I think history has showed us that if you don’t, nasty things happen, Arsenal have shareholders that have a right to question, I’m still waiting for an answer to the bloke that asked why we kept Ade, and why we signed Silvestre.

So what Hill-Wood wants is a shareholders love in, hmmmm. He also said If you were a sensible, realistic shareholder, you would be very pleased at what is happening here.

Well Pete my old cocker, if you were a sensible realistic shareholder, you would expect a dividend, but we’re not, most of us are Arsenal fans and have bought the shares out of love, and if we feel the need to question, then we have earned that right the same as any sensible shareholder, so maybe you should keep your mouth shut and let Arsene look after himself, he is 60 you know, not 9.

The team say they will learn from the draw on Tuesday, I hope we show West Ham how good we are, after seeing the mega spenders play like shit, our result wasn’t too bad, we’ll qualify, we didn’t lose and no one died.

And you know what? The sun will still come up in the morning!

I’m looking forward to the next 2 weeks, we could go through in the Carling Cup, qualify in our ECL group and be top of the league on the back of the Spuds, now it doesn’t get better than that, does it!

Have a great day Grovers, and drink a beer to Wenger’s health.

P.S. Pedro has updated the funnies and the gallery. If he hasn’t responded to an e-mail, please send it again. His spam filter has been playing up! He said he’ll try and twitter from the meeting today, so keep an eye out for that… details in the side bar —>!

On the verge of revolt… Arsenal drop two points. Report + Player Ratings

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  • The Champions league isn’t won in the qualifiers.
  • Barcelona lost at home to a team I’ve never heard of
  • Liverpool lost again
  • Arsenal dropped 2 points away from home in a group that we’re smashing

Let’s put it all into perspective and take a big, deep breath.

I feel we’re always one result away from a revolution on the web… too many people have made their minds up about players and their careers, too many people seem to take glee in results like this and I don’t like that. We’re 8 games unbeaten and we just dropped two points. So a couple of things I’d like to point out…

1) Winning a few games against relatively easy opposition does not mean we’re dead certs for the EPL-ECL double this year. When the going is good, don’t let smugness get the better of you… I had a glance at the Premier table this time last year and I think the only difference bar the huge goal haul, was a draw… Rushing around telling everyone ‘Arsene knows’ in October leaves you with a high percentage chance of finishing the year with egg on your face.
2) If you don’t think we’re going to do anything this year, try and enjoy it when we’re on a good run… when we drop a couple of points away from home, don’t go overboard in the criticism or be too quick to bask in a player’s mistake. All players make mistakes and all teams will drop points this year. Arsenal fans from a neutral perspective have the most to be happy about this season… enjoy it, before the injuries pile up (I’d put an wink emoticon here if I could)!

Arsenal played in second gear most of the night, we created plenty of chances and we went 1-0 up after 36 minutes after Arshavin capitalised on an AZ mistake. He laid the ball off to Robin who cut a neat ball across the box for Cesc to slot into the empty net.

We were comfortable for the rest of the half and had the better of the chances.

Things changed in the second half… our tempo dropped, AZ sniffed out the fear and started to cause us problems aerially. You could sense our team was panicking at the back. I thought we’d sorted ourselves out after about 70 minutes when we started knocking the ball about and trusting our game… but then we reverted back to school boy football. AZ were causing alsorts of problems with set pieces and there best chance fell in the 93rd minute when a long ball was looped into the box, Diaby was easily beaten after losing out with a weak challenge, the ball fell to their sub… bang… 1-1.

It was a disappointing end to a pretty flat game, but I’m not about to start calling for heads and telling you why this team can’t challenge this year.

What today lacked was a bit of leadership during the second half. Someone needed to grab hold of the game and calm everyone down. We are one of the best passing teams in the world, why this attribute disappears when we’re under pressure is beyond me. We should have taken the ball up the other end and played keep ball like the invincible’s used to. Still, it’s a learning curve for everyone and hopefully we’ll learn our lesson for the next away day in Europe.

On the upside of things. Arshavin looked superb when he was moved centrally (He looked ok out wide as well). His quick feet and clever runs baffled the Dutch all night. He is one of the few in our team who isn’t shy to have a dig and he was unlucky not to get his name on the score sheet tonight (Did you see it when Eboue wanted the ball, Arshavin shot, Eboue complained and the Russian mouthed, ‘I just wanted to shoot’).

I thought Song had a super game tonight. He made a few very good interceptions and did a good job getting in the way. His passing was in the main, very good. It’s getting ridiculous when I read people pulling him up on any stray pass… I think people have short memories about how good Gilberto was at passing. Everyone misplaces passes, as Song is a bit more adventurous these days… he’ll misplace them to.

I thought Eboue was pretty anonymous today. I don’t understand why Wenger insists on playing him out wide instead of Rambo. It has nothing to do with tracking back, because Eboue did nothing of the sort last night and rarely does… another myth pushed by some sections of the fanbase through the web… If you’re going to put players like Vela and Wilshere in the squad, you should give them a game when a similar player picks up an injury. Sticking a right back in their position is a bit insulting regardless of the glimpses of form he’s shown on occasions this year.

Mannone has done well considering his age, but he worries me, he really does worry me. He is nervous and indecisive at the moment and I can’t help but think he is a ticking flap bomb. Is it time to recall the Spaniard, or are we waiting for Fab2?

So to conclude, a bit of a nothing performance from our boys but lets not lose our heads over a result that most teams would take. We played in second gear and still created 13 chances and in all likely hood, we’ll still qualify.


Mannone: Looking shaky and nervous. I hope we don’t have to witness a disaster before he’s dropped. 6

Clichy: Not a bad performance from him tonight. Relatively quiet for him with most of the play coming down the middle. 6

Vermaelen: Put his head on a few tough balls tonight but was part of the defence that was regularly panicked throughout the second half. Maybe with time he will start to take more control as Gallas isn’t the leader type. 7

Gallas: I was a bit nervous when he went down with an injury in the first half, thankfully he was ok. Did an adequate job in the main, but needs to do a little more with his experience in games like these. 6

Sagna: Fault free game really. 6

Cesc: Not his most dominant performance, but he came up with a goal. 6

Diaby: For the most part I thought he had a good game. He got the ball from out of his feet well, passed quickly and made some good runs. I don’t think it can be denied that he worked tirelessly tonight. He was guilty for losing out on the header at the end, which is worrying considering his height. He needs to cut out these mistakes and cut them out fast if he is going to help us make a dent on a trophy this year. 6

Song: Superb game from the man who dished out a slapperbayor last week. He was all over the park closing off angles, intercepting passes and distributing with deftness. I thought he had a storming game and if it wasn’t for Arshavin, I’d have given him man of the match. 7.5

Robin: Hit the target a number of times and looked dangerous. First time in four he’s missed out on the score sheet. 7

Eboue: Didn’t realise he was playing for large parts of the game. He’s a right back, how can I criticise a weak performance from him in midfield? 5.5

Arshavin: Looked lively all game and looked superb in the middle where he created opening for himself and others all night. Shame he couldn’t have been more clinical. 8


Arsene wants to extend his 2011 contract. Let’s go 4-4-2 tonight.

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So Arsene Wenger wants to extend his contract beyond it’s date of 2011, he doesn’t want to retire and he doesn’t want to manage another club. All good news indeed.

Arsene says he likes the freedom he has to run the footballing side of Arsenal and that was indeed a factor of him not wanting to go to Real Madrid, the club he supported as a boy, the other factor was he made a promise to this current crop that he would see it through.

He also said judge him in two years, that I think is 2011, so if he extends his contract now, he will be here way past 2011 and that must mean he knows he’ll win some silverware otherwise he wouldn’t be extending his contract, so if all that happens, good times are ahead!

Fragile Theo is now concerned about the world cup, Theo, I have always said you will be the saviour of England, I still believe you will be, but if you are going to be concerned about anyone, it really should be the club that pays your wages, I don’t just want to see you making cameo appearances for us this season as a warm up for the world cup. I know you got clattered, but I think you need to toughen up.

Alkmaar are a team managed by Ronald Koeman and remember he cost us when Taylor was manager once, he knows how to hurt, but frankly if we can’t beat a team that lost to FC Twente at the weekend, then we should be playing in the Europa cup with all the other shit English sides, no offence Villa but it is a shit competition.

I hope we go out and attack, I hope if he puts Eboue in, it’s at right back, we have plenty of players that can play wide left and wide right, we don’t need to play a right back out of position, we can play Wilshere, Vela or Ramsey out wide, even Traore but please don’t start how you almost finished against Birmingham.

Here’s the team you should pick,


Eboue/Sagna, Gallas, Vermaelen, Clichy/Gibbs

Wilshere, Cesc, Song/Diaby, Ramsey/Vela/Traore

Arshavin, Robin

Play a 4-4-2, we’re away and 4-4-2 can be our old 4-5-1, I even included Song and Diaby in there for some of you that think they ought to play week in, week out so you can’t complain I don’t listen.

They will try and hit us early, well they ought to if they’ve done their homework on us.

So Arsenal, you need to stay strong and hold on for the first 15 minutes, probe them for weaknesses and then rip out their necks, just like those Raptors did in Jurassic Park, the first one, not the follow up, the follow up was a bit silly because they all started breeding, and if that were true, the flying ones would have got off the island and started nesting in Madison square Gardens like Godzilla did. And we all knew that was bollocks, don’t we!

Mind you, if Godzilla had bred with a Pterodactyl, imagine what that beast could do, if we had an army of them, we could rule the world and that means we could win the ECL, because we could eat the competition. No doubt Platini would find something wrong with that though, as he is the biggest dinosaur in the world.

Anyway, wherever you are watching it, have fun, drink your cheaper than Arsenal beer and lets see if we can close this team out tonight so we can rest easy in the next ECL game.

Have a great night tonight Grovers, after this we have West Ham then Liverpool, then the Spuds, and then Alkmaar again, wow what a run!